Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Hereford United: A Bad Week To Have A Bad Day

To talk about today being a bad day for Hereford United requires the perspective that this has been a bad year for Hereford United. Come to think of it, the teenies haven't exactly been a great decade for Hereford United, or their fans. Today is just another bad day, one of many that have come Hereford's way recently.

Today the Football Association suspended Hereford United from all football activity, along with their majority shareholder, Alan McCarthy - or at least their previous majority shareholder, as once again ownership of the club appears confused  and the only thing that the club's fans can be sure of is the state of the club is not healthy.

The Football Association have said that they understand the importance of football clubs to local communities and that they will be working hard to ensure that football returns to Hereford as soon as possible.

"The FA understands the importance of football clubs to their local communities and will continue to work with all relevant parties to ensure senior football returns to Hereford at the earliest opportunity."

 I am sure that statement will fill Hereford fans with joy as they contemplate the plight of their club. The 'relevant parties' haven't been doing a great job of looking after their club, and the Football Association haven't exactly had a great track record looking after grassroots football lately.

For a club that was playing in The Football League just over two and a half years ago, having been relegated from the league in 2012, Hereford United have fallen a long way. Having been expelled from the Football Conference last summer for non payment of debts, the club have been competing in the Southern League Premier Division. Now, once again, they don't know if they will be competing at all.

For anyone born in the sixties or earlier (like myself), the name Hereford United always conjours up one memory more than any other. Its a memory that gets dredged up each year when the FA Cup 3rd round draw takes place - just as it did two days ago on the BBC. Ronnie Radford, Ricky George, muddy pitches and a crowd so close they could smell the upset, never mind see it.

That this bad day for Hereford should take place two days after the 3rd round draw of the FA Cup is particularly cruel. As teams like Blyth Spartans, Dover Athletic, Worcester City and others dream of repeating more cup upsets, Hereford fans can only look on in envy.

So for the sake of Hereford fans let's remember that day 42 years ago - not just the great strike from Ronnie Radford that is always played, despite being the equaliser and not the winner, but the whole experience. Get a sense of the occasion and the enormity of the achievement. This was a good Newcastle team with the mighty Supermac up front. This was a Hereford team yet to achieve Football League status, but filled with heroes for a day.

That victory over First Division Newcastle United remains one of the biggest cup upsets of all time. I wish Hereford fans every success in seeing their club survive to dream of more days like 5th February 1972 rather than 10th December 2014.

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